Rooftop Bars in Duluth

A question posted on PDD’s Facebook page:

Rooftop Question from Tiffany

We should note right off the top that Grandma’s Saloon & Grill in Canal Park has rooftop seating.

Grandma's Saloon Duluth Rooftop Seating

Grandma’s is probably the only true rooftop bar in Duluth, Superior or any nearby community, although a number of restaurants and drinking establishments have decks, courtyards, sidewalk tables or some form of open-air service. The Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais is another place with rooftop seating in the summer, but that’s almost as far from Duluth as the Twin Cities.

Why aren’t there more? Well, it’s just not practical in most cases. Neighborhood bars would have trouble getting approval for such a thing because neighbors would likely complain about noise. Downtown bars are often on the ground level of a multi-story building. While there are a few places that might be suitable for a rooftop bar, it involves taking on some expensive construction and being prepared to staff a separate area and provide additional security. Those are tough things for a business to take on in an area where the season for outdoor drinking runs from July to September.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t dream. There will likely be another rooftop bar in or near Duluth at some point, which means now is the time to make predictions so you can say “I told you so” later.

10 Comments

Paul Lundgren

about 5 years ago

Maybe it's not too late to add a rooftop bar to the plans for the Maurices headquarters?

kerc

about 5 years ago

There's also the Mexico Lindo / Chi-Chis / whatever the name is.

Let's talk logistics: brrr. It's damn cold out there a lot of the year.

Paul Lundgren

about 5 years ago

Mexico Lindo is not rooftop seating, it's a deck off the side of the building. Just as good, but not the same thing.

Tiffany Venne

about 5 years ago

Most of the rooftop bars in the cities are only open in the summer. Many have different themes. Like Brits has (or at least use to have) lawn bowling. The Cafeteria has kind of a beach theme. Rooftop is different than balcony or deck. Yes similar. But more space to move around, the strange excitement of being at the very top, being able to see in all directions.

Cory Fechner

about 5 years ago

I think the fact that we have such a great focal point that is the Big Lake (aka Big Sexy as I call her) and many of the summer visitors to town are  drawn here because of the lake, a rooftop bar with lake views could do well.  I think the trick is to make it break down easy (due to the rapid changing weather), needs a small bar, some sort of wind blocker, fire pit, tall heat lamps and small stage for music.  The Gunflint Tavern in Grand Marais does not serve food on the roof to keep away the seagulls and I think that is a good idea.  That way the bartender of the small bar on the roof can manage and wait on the rooftop patrons eliminating the need to wait staff.  If designed properly with glass railings and heat lamps, there is no reason it could not be functional June - Oct.

Cory Fechner

about 5 years ago

Heat lamps & fire pit would make it comfortable  on those 60 degree evenings.

CJD

about 5 years ago

Funny, I was just saying the same thing a week or two ago!  And I've always thought that the places that do have patios should invest in heat lamps.  I would think it could extend patio season by at least a month on each end.  Bars in Phoenix of all places have them all over in the fall and winter.

jessige

about 5 years ago

Some of those big patio heaters with an ice bar would be pretty amazing in the winter.

aluminumpork

about 5 years ago

Is the new-ish deck seating at Grandma's Restaurant a rooftop bar? At the very least, it is technically rooftop seating.

The Big E

about 5 years ago

Hacienda del Sol used to have rooftop seating that was fantastic.  Of course, it has been closed for about a hundred years now.

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